Research ArticlePain

CT-guided injection of a TRPV1 agonist around dorsal root ganglia decreases pain transmission in swine

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Science Translational Medicine  16 Sep 2015:
Vol. 7, Issue 305, pp. 305ra145
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aac6589

Improved pain control with a spicy chili pepper variant

Chronic severe pain can be agonizing, and methods to control it are often inadequate or limited by side effects. Brown et al. used a CT scanner to guide needles through the skin of swine directly to pain-transmitting nerve fibers. Through these needles, they injected resiniferatoxin, which is a very powerful variant of capsaicin, the spicy ingredient in chili peppers. This drug is toxic to cells that carry its receptor (TRPV1), which are almost exclusively pain-transmitting neurons. This enabled the authors to selectively block pain transmission in pigs without affecting “bystander” nerves carrying other sensory information.

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